Tongaat Hulett’s Zim operations hit by strike

Harare - Collective job action at Tongaat Hulett’s [TON] Zimbabwean operations entered its third week on Monday, with workers continuing to demand regionally comparative wages.

The 16 000 strong workforce went on strike on November 26, demanding a wage adjustment to US$300 from about $170 in line with what other Tongaat Hulett employees in the region are earning.

The strike has disrupted the crushing of harvest cane into sugar, which will impact sugar supplies.

In a press statement issued last Friday, corporate affairs and communications manager Adelaide Chikunguru said efforts to engage with the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Workers Union are under way.

“This follows various processes to end the collective job action and create opportunities for dialogue between the company and employee representatives,” said Chikunguru.

Tongaat has also taken the collective job action to the Supreme Court while the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is leading negotiations between parties.

The workers’ union said the strikers woould not go back to work until management addressed their grievances.

Meanwhile, Chikunguru said the collective job action has resulted in isolated incidents of vandalism.

“On December 10 an incident of arson was recorded in which 0.7 hectares of 10.2 months old cane was maliciously set alight at Hippo Valley Estates,” she said, adding that the matter was reported to the police.

In its results for the six months to end-September 2015, Hippo reported a 15% decline in revenue to $70.2m while after tax profit went down to $2.3m.  

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